Apple Executive Explains the Reason Behind Delayed iOS Auto-Updates

BY Anu Joy

Published 30 Mar 2022

By default, Apple’s Automatic Updates feature lets iOS users get automatic updates overnight when their device is connected to a power source and a Wi-Fi network. However, the updates only tend to get installed days or even weeks after the initial rollout. A curious iPhone user emailed Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior VP of software engineering, asking him the reason behind the delay. Surprisingly, the executive responded to the email, saying that iOS updates are rolled out incrementally to those who “explicitly seek them out in Settings,” while it reaches those with auto-update enabled one to four weeks later.

The fastest way to receive iOS updates is to manually navigate to Settings > General > Software Update. Users can also let their iPhone take care of it by opting for Automatic Updates, although they’re notorious for arriving days or even weeks later.

An inquisitive Redditor emailed Federighi, explaining that although Automatic Updates was turned on, he hadn’t received an update notification for weeks since the public release of iOS 15.4. “How exactly does this feature work? What conditions must be met for this function to work?” the iOS user enquired.

Much to his surprise, the Apple executive replied:

Hi Mateusz,

We incrementally rollout new iOS updates by first making them available for those that explicitly seek them out in Settings, and then 1-4 weeks later (after we’ve received feedback on the update) ramp up to rolling out devices with auto-update enabled.

Hope that helps!

– craig

A staggered update rollout via Apple’s Automatic Updates feature makes sense, as it can use the one-to-four-week window to resolve any bugs or server-side issues before it reaches everyone. Moreover, this could safeguard against server overload when the latest version of iOS is released.

[Via MacRumors]